On July 12, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to combine the state’s three cannabis regulatory agencies into one, creating the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), which celebrated 100 days as a new state department yesterday.
Throughout the 100-day period, the DCC has made significant changes to better California’s cannabis industry, support cannabis businesses and improve the state’s regulatory framework, according to a recent press release from the DCC.
Some of the improvements and accomplishments the DCC has had throughout the 100-day period are listed in the press release as follows:
- Launched $100 million local grant program, informed by meetings and input from 17 eligible jurisdictions, to support the transition of businesses into annual licensure by funding completion of local and environmental reviews
- Consolidated three sets of regulations into one, reducing duplicative and conflicting cannabis business regulations, aligning core application requirements and allowing business-to-business trade samples
- Toured more than 20 licensed cannabis businesses representing all license types, with direct engagement between the licensees and newly-appointed DCC leadership team
- Transitioned hundreds of provisional licenses to annual licenses, recently issuing the 3,000th annual license
- Reviewed 140 standard operating procedures and 100 method validations submitted by applicants for testing laboratory license
- Served or assisted on 118 search warrants targeting unlicensed activity resulting in seizure or destruction of more than 71,751 pounds of cannabis and cannabis product worth nearly $121.6 million, eradication of 273,326 plants, and seizure of $655,000 in cash and 14 firearms; this also includes focused efforts in Mendocino County, Siskiyou County and the Southern California high desert region to support enforcement against water diversions
- Completed ISO 17025 pre-assessment for California’s state-run cannabis testing laboratory
- Merged organizational structure of the three programs into one, creating singular points of contact for stakeholders forging DCC’s strategic plan and unified culture, and developing the organization’s mission, vision and values
- Named permanent and transitionary leadership team
- Relaunched cannabis.ca.gov with expanded state cannabis information
“We’ve made meaningful early progress as a new department, but this is only the beginning,” said Nicole Elliott, DCC director, in the press release. “DCC will continue to direct significant effort to building a safe, sustainable and equitable cannabis market, including by engaging with all stakeholders, improving access to licensure, and streamlining and simplifying the regulatory framework.”
Moving forward, the DCC plans to continue to make several changes to simplify the cannabis regulatory framework, which includes directly engaging with social equity applicants and licensees to understand their needs and implementing fee waivers for such applicants. The release states that the department is also building a “robust routine inspection program that enhances compliance and accountability for all businesses.”
The DCC plans to build relationships and strengthen existing relationships with local and state partners to support further licensing, compliance and equity programs, according to the release. The organization will also offer support to aid businesses looking to participate in the state’s legal marketplace.
During the next six months, the department’s “This is California Cannabis” campaign will expand to include retailers, manufactures and cultivators, and provide additional education and support to help businesses remain compliant post-licensure.
Furthermore, the DCC and the Newsom administration plan to appoint individuals to fill leadership and advisory roles and empty positions throughout the department over the next couple of months.